It’s actually indeniable that within the battle towards the menace of corruption in Nigeria since 1999, the concern of the Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee (EFCC) has for many of the time been the start of knowledge for key workplace holders in each the private and non-private sectors of the economic system. The identical factor can’t be stated of its sister anti-graft company, the Unbiased Corrupt Practices and Different Associated Offences Fee (ICPC), which, by the way, commemorated the 20th anniversary of its formation on July 13. Whereas the EFCC has stamped its imprint on the general public consciousness by way of its very lively, even when usually controversial chairmen, the assorted heads of the ICPC over time have tended to be largely nameless due evidently to the fairly somnolent and docile disposition of the latter.
Giving an account of the ICPC’s efficiency during the last twenty years, its present chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, stated the company acquired 19, 381 petitions throughout the interval, efficiently investigated about 5,000 of those and prosecuted virtually 1,000. That the fee secured convictions in about 20 % of the circumstances is a sign of its inexcusably beneath par efficiency.
It may be argued, it’s true, that past investigating, and the place vital prosecuting corruption and associated offences, the ICPC additionally has the mandate to review private and non-private sector organisational methods with a view to devising measures to forestall corruption in addition to educating and enlisting the help of the general public towards corruption. Maybe if the fee had delivered successfully on the latter two aims, its efficiency within the space of investigating and prosecuting acts of corruption would have been pardonable. However neither in serving to to plug avenues for corrupt practices nor mobilising public help towards corruption has the ICPC made significant influence.
Mockingly, the ICPC is even in a greater place to extra boldly confront corruption than the EFCC as a result of its management has a safer tenure and is extra insulated from the hazard of arbitrary and punitive truncation of tenure. In contrast to the EFCC whose chairman and board members will be eliminated on the whim of the President, Part 3(7) of the ICPC Act supplies that the fee’s chairman will maintain workplace for 5 years and members for 4 years within the first occasion. Moreover, Part 3(8) of its Act states that “However the availability of Part 3(7) of this Act, the Chairman or any member of the fee might at any time be faraway from workplace by the President performing on an tackle supported by two-thirds majority of the senate praying that he be eliminated for lack of ability to discharge the capabilities of his workplace (whether or not arising from infirmity of thoughts or physique or some other trigger) or for misconduct”.
Whereas we don’t advocate misguided adventurism or disruptive activism on the a part of the management of the ICPC, we consider they’re sufficiently protected by its enabling regulation to behave with larger braveness and decisiveness within the discharge of their mandate. It isn’t usually identified, as an example, that Part 52 of the ICPC Act empowers the fee to take steps to examine corruption even by public places of work lined by immunity. The Part states that “Every time an allegation of corruption is made towards the President, Vice President, Governors and their deputies, although they take pleasure in constitutional immunity whereas nonetheless in workplace, the Fee can provoke investigation of such political workplace holders and thereafter apply to the Chief Justice of the Federation to authorise an Unbiased Counsel to research the allegations of corrupt practices made towards such officers. Such an Unbiased Counsel will make a report of his findings to the Nationwide or State Legislatures because the case could also be. The Fee is anticipated to cooperate with the Unbiased Counsel in the midst of the investigation”.
Beneath its present chairman, nonetheless, there isn’t a doubt that the ICPC has change into extra seen and proactive whereas additionally stepping up efforts to boost its forensic capability in addition to modernise its operations. It additionally deserves commendation for organising a coaching arm that has skilled 13, 739 public officers over time, in addition to developed the Nationwide Values Curriculum built-in into the training course of in main and post-primary faculties throughout the nation.
We urge the Nationwide Meeting to utilise the event of the 20th anniversary of the ICPC to strengthen the legal guidelines organising the anti-graft businesses with a view, particularly, to enhancing their organisational autonomy, safeguarding larger safety of tenure and deepening professionalism amongst their functionaries.